Outdoor Watering Tips

#1. There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
#2. Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance checkup. For more efficient cooling, check your evaporative cooler annually.
#3. Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
#4. Avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
#5. Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
#6. Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
#7. Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
#8. Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
#9. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk and save 80 gallons of water every time.
#10. Divide your watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption every time you water.
#11. We're more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.
#12. Periodically check your pool for leaks if you have an automatic refilling device.
#13. Only water your lawn when needed. You can tell this by simply walking across your lawn. If you leave footprints, it's time to water.
#14. Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass shades root systems and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.
#15. When you clean your fish tank, use the water you've drained on your plants. The water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.
#16. Use the sprinkler for larger areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
#17. Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.
#18. Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your garden.
#19. Water your summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawn once every five days.
#20. Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.
#21. Choose a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs and flowers. Watering at the roots is very effective. Be careful not to over water.
#22. Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs, and ground cover with rock and granite mulching.
#23. Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good shape.
#24. Don't water your lawn on windy days. After all, sidewalks and driveways don't need water.
#25. Water your plants deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
#26. When watering grass on steep slopes, use a soaker hose to prevent wasteful runoff.
#27. Group plants with the same watering needs together to get the most out of your watering time.
#28. Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.
#29. While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
#30. Avoid installing ornamental water features and fountains that spray water into the air. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation.  

#31. Buy a rain gauge to track how much rain or irrigation your yard receives. Check with your local water agency to see how much rain is needed.
#32. Teach your family how to shut off your automatic watering systems. Turn sprinklers off if the system is malfunctioning or when a storm is approaching.

#33. Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden with a hose.
#34. Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
#35. Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than 1/4 inch each day.
#36. Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don't water. Proper lawn watering can save thousands of gallons of water annually.
#37. Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass. Once established, ryegrass needs water every three to five days, whereas dormant Bermuda grass needs water only once a month.
#38. When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
#39. Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
#40. Landscape with Xeriscape trees, plants and groundcovers. Call your local conservation office for more information about these water thrifty plants.
#41. If you have an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain to a flowerbed, tree, or your lawn.
#42. Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and other uses.
#43. Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on top of the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
#44. Bermuda grasses are dormant (brown) in the winter and will only require water once every three to four weeks or less if it rains.
#45. Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
#46. Use sprinklers that throw big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops of water and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
#47. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Be sure only to water plants when necessary.
#48. Adjust your watering schedule to the season. Water your summer lawn every third day and your winter lawn every fifth day.
#49. Water only as rapidly as the soil can absorb the water.
#50. Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
#51. Place an empty tuna can on your lawn to catch and measure the water output of your sprinklers. For lawn watering advice, contact your local conservation office.
#52. When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
#53. If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
#54. When backwashing your pool, consider using the water on your landscaping.
#55. For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
#56. Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost to prevent using the garbage disposal.
#57. When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don't throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.  

The Water - Use It Wisely website lists more than one-hundred water saving tips for our area, and they offer an online version of the Landscape Watering Guide.